23 March 2016 The United Nations envoy for the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today unveiled a plan by the diplomatic Quartet – comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union – to produce a report that would help create a political environment for the two sides to resume peace negotiations.
Speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that the Quartet, in its last principals meeting in Munich, decided to compile a report that will examine impediments to a two-state solution and recommend the way forward.
The work has already started and the Quartet is seeking inputs from both sides and other stakeholders, including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to produce a good assessment, he said, expressing hope that the report, to be concluded in a few months, will inform the international opinion and consolidate consensus on a two-state solution as the only viable option.
Turning to the reconstruction of Gaza, he said that since the end of hostilities in 2014, the UN engaged both sides in putting together a mechanism to allow the import of building materials. This has begun to see visible results. Now 100,000 families have access to construction materials to repair and rebuild their homes, and 9,000 jobs have been created.
It is now vital to move forward with key infrastructure projects, namely those related to access to fresh water and electricity, he said. Efforts must continue to remove Gaza blockages imposed by Israel in order to allow imports and exports so that economic activities can restart in the strip.
He noted, however, that only 35 per cent of the $3.5 billion pledged at the 2014 Cairo conference has been disbursed, urging donors to make good on their commitment.
Mr. Mladenov said that tomorrow, he will brief the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East and hold an informal consultation with Member States on the reconstruction of Gaza.
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